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The Most Interesting Thing About D-Train

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By now you've heard that the Giants are taking a no-risk flyer on Dontrelle Willis, who is so out of whack the pitching-starved D-Backs cut him loose after a handful of starts. He'll report to AAA Fresno and pitch out of the bullpen.

It's a longshot, though the Giants are on a good run of revitalizing players who seemed as good as toast. Pat Burrell is the latest, but you could reasonably add Huff, Uribe and Torres to the list. The D-Train story broke late Thursday, and here's what I find most intriguing: Willis chose SF because of Dick Tidrow. Chris Haft writes:

Ron Sosnick, Willis' agent, has complete faith in Tidrow. Sosnick said that "Dick's ability to identify pitchers' strengths and weaknesses, mainly through the draft" is "universally known."

Take that, Dave Duncan! It's not just the high praise that's nice to hear, but the mindset that underscores the perception. If a pitcher truly thinks Tidrow is a guru, he'll submit more freely to whatever changes Tidrow suggests. I'm sure it's hard for a pro athlete, especially one like Willis who was once so adulated at such a young age, to surrender the ego. Here's his agent again from a Merc story:

"We viewed Dick Tidrow as someone to really review what's going on with (Dontrelle), and there's no one he respects more," Sosnick said. "This is a unique opportunity for him to pick Dick's brain."
I'm not sure "pick Dick's brain" is a phrase one should repeat in polite company, but this unlikliest of reclamation projects is getting off to a good start.

Here's the second most interesting thing about the D-Train situation: His 2010 splits against left-handed batters.

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